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Charles Robert Darwin

On Wednesday, April 26, 1882, sitting in the North Transept of

Westminster Abbey, I looked upon a sad and impressive scene. Under the

dome stood an oaken coffin, quite covered with white wreaths; close by

were seated the distinguished pall-bearers, Sir John Lubbock, Canon

Farrar, the Duke of Argyle, Thomas H. Huxley, James Russell Lowell, and

others. Representatives of many nations were present; the great

scientists of
France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and Russia.

Of the thousands who were gathered to honor the famous dead, every

person wore black, as requested on the cards of admission to the abbey.

Perhaps never in the history of England have so many noted men been

assembled on an occasion like this. As the choir, in their white robes,

stood about the open grave, singing the "Dead March from Saul," the

strains seemed to come from a far-off country, producing an effect never

to be forgotten. Darwin lies buried close to the graves of Sir Isaac

Newton and Sir John Herschel.

At Shrewsbury, England, February 12, 1809, Charles Robert Darwin was

born, in a square, red-brick house at the top of a terraced bank

leading down to the Severn. The greenhouse with its varied plants, the

ornamental shrubs and trees in the grounds, became a delight as soon as

the boy was old enough to observe them.

The mother, Susannah, the daughter of Josiah Wedgwood of Etruria, a

woman with a sweet and happy face, died when Charles was eight years

old, leaving five other children; Marianne, Caroline, Erasmus, Susan,

and Catherine. Charles says of her in his autobiography, "It is odd that

I can remember hardly anything about her except her death-bed, her black

velvet gown, and her curiously constructed work-table." She evidently

encouraged the boy's love for flowers, for he used to say, at school,

that his mother had taught him "how, by looking at the inside of the

blossom, the name of the plant could be discovered."

The father, Robert Waring Darwin, was a well known physician, a man of

fine physique and courtly manner, who had amassed wealth by his skill

and business ability. Charles's admiration of him was unbounded: "the

wisest man I ever knew," he used often to say.

"His chief mental characteristics," said Darwin, "were his powers of

observation and his sympathy, neither of which have I ever seen exceeded

or even equalled. His sympathy was not only with the distresses of

others, but in a greater degree with the pleasures of all around him.

This led him to be always scheming to give pleasure to others, and,

though hating extravagance, to perform many generous actions. For

instance, Mr. B----, a small manufacturer in Shrewsbury, came to him one

day, and said he should be bankrupt unless he could at once borrow ten

thousand pounds, but that he was unable to give any legal security. My

father heard his reasons for believing that he could ultimately repay

the money, and, from his intuitive perception of character, felt sure

that he was to be trusted. So he advanced this sum, which was a very

large one for him while young, and was after a time repaid.

"I suppose that it was his sympathy which gave him unbounded power of

winning confidence, and as a consequence made him highly successful as a

physician. He began to practise before he was twenty-one years old, and

his fees during the first year paid for the keep of two horses and a

servant. On the following year his practice was large, and so continued

for about sixty years, when he ceased to attend on any one. His great

success as a doctor was the more remarkable as he told me that he at

first hated his profession so much that if he had been sure of the

smallest pittance, or if his father had given him any choice, nothing

should have induced him to follow it. To the end of his life, the

thought of an operation almost sickened him, and he could scarcely

endure to see a person bled--a horror which he has transmitted to me."

Charles went to the day-school in Shrewsbury, when he was eight years

old. "By the time I went to this day-school," he says, "my taste for

natural history, and more especially for collecting, was well developed.

I tried to make out the names of plants, and collected all sorts of

things, shells, seals, franks, coins, and minerals. The passion for

collecting, which leads a man to be a systematic naturalist, a virtuoso,

or a miser, was very strong in me, and was clearly innate, as none of my

sisters or brothers ever had this taste....

"I must have been a very simple little fellow when I first went to the

school. A boy of the name of Garnett took me into a cake-shop one day,

and bought some cakes, for which he did not pay, as the shopman trusted

him. When he came out I asked him why he did not pay for them, and he

instantly answered, 'Why, do you not know that my uncle left a great sum

of money to the town on condition that every tradesman should give

whatever was wanted without payment to any one who wore his old hat and

moved it in a particular manner?' and he then showed me how it was

moved. He then went into another shop where he was trusted, and asked

for some small article, moving his hat in the proper manner, and of

course obtained it without payment.

"When we came out, he said: 'Now, if you like to go by yourself into

that cake-shop (how well I remember its exact position) I will lend you

my hat, and you can get whatever you like if you move the hat on your

head properly.' I gladly accepted the generous offer, and went in and

asked for some cakes, moved the old hat and was walking out of the shop

when the shopman made a rush at me, so I dropped the cakes and ran for

dear life, and was astonished by being greeted with shouts of laughter

by my false friend Garnett.

"In the summer of 1818, I went to Dr. Butler's great school in

Shrewsbury, and remained there for seven years, till midsummer, 1825,

when I was sixteen years old. I boarded at this school, so that I had

the great advantage of living the life of a true schoolboy; but as the

distance was hardly more than a mile to my home, I very often ran there

in the longer intervals between the callings over, and before locking up

at night. This, I think, was in many ways advantageous to me, by keeping

up home affections and interests. I remember, in the early part of my

school life, that I often had to run very quickly to be in time, and,

from being a fleet runner, was generally successful; but when in doubt I

prayed earnestly to God to help me, and I well remember that I

attributed my success to the prayers and not to my quick running, and

marvelled how generally I was aided.

"I have heard my father and elder sister say that I had, as a very young

boy, a strong taste for long, solitary walks; but what I thought about I

know not. I often became quite absorbed, and once, whilst returning to

school on the summit of the old fortifications round Shrewsbury, which

had been converted into a public footpath with no parapet on one side, I

walked off and fell to the ground, but the height was only seven or

eight feet. Nevertheless, the number of thoughts which passed through my

mind during this very short but sudden and wholly unexpected fall was

astonishing, and seem hardly compatible with what physiologists have, I

believe, proved about each thought requiring quite an appreciable amount

of time."

As Dr. Butler's school was strictly classical, Darwin always felt that,

for him, these years were nearly wasted. He read many authors,

Shakspeare, Thomson's Seasons, Byron, and Scott, but later in life, he

says, lost all taste for poetry. This he greatly regretted, and said, if

he were to live his life over, he would read some poetry every day. The

book that most influenced him was the "Wonders of the World," which gave

him a desire to travel, which was finally realized in the voyage of the

Beagle. He did not forget his zest in collecting, at first, however,

taking only such insects as he found dead, for, after consulting his

sister, he "concluded that it was not right to kill insects for the sake

of making a collection. From reading White's 'Selborne,' I took much

pleasure in watching the habits of birds, and even made notes on the

subject. In my simplicity, I remember wondering why every gentleman did

not become an ornithologist.

"Towards the close of my school-life, my brother worked hard at

chemistry, and made a fair laboratory, with proper apparatus, in the

tool-house in the garden, and I was allowed to aid him as a servant in

most of his experiments. He made all the gases and many compounds, and I

read with great care several books on chemistry, such as Henry and

Parkes' 'Chemical Catechism.' The subject interested me greatly, and we

often used to go on working till rather late at night. This was the best

part of my education at school, for it showed me practically the meaning

of experimental science. The fact that we worked at chemistry somehow

got known at school, and, as it was an unprecedented fact, I was

nicknamed 'Gas.'...

"When I left the school, I was for my age neither high nor low in it,

and I believe that I was considered by all my masters and by my father

as a very ordinary boy, rather below the common standard in intellect.

To my deep mortification, my father once said to me: 'You care for

nothing but shooting, dogs, and rat-catching, and you will be a disgrace

to yourself and all your family.' But my father, who was the kindest man

I ever knew, and whose memory I love with all my heart, must have been

angry and somewhat unjust when he used such words."

Dr. Darwin now sent his two boys, Erasmus and Charles, to Edinburgh

University. Here, Charles found the lectures "intolerably dull," all

except those on chemistry by Hope. His father, evidently not being able

to determine for what his son was best fitted in life, suggested his

being a doctor. The youth attended the clinical wards in the hospital,

but one day witnessing two operations, one upon a child, he rushed away.

He says, "Nor did I attend again, for hardly any inducement would have

been strong enough to make me do so; this being long before the blessed

days of chloroform. The two cases fairly haunted me for many a long


While in Edinburgh, Charles became deeply interested in marine zooelogy,

and read a paper before the Plinian Society, an association organized

for the study of natural history. He also attended the meetings of the

Wernerian Society, where he heard Audubon deliver some interesting

lectures upon the habits of North American birds, and the Royal Society,

where he saw Sir Walter Scott in the chair as president.

"I looked at him and at the whole scene," says Darwin, "with some awe

and reverence, and I think it was owing to this visit during my youth,

and to my having attended the Royal Medical Society, that I felt the

honor of being elected, a few years ago, an honorary member of both

these societies more than any other similar honor. If I had been told at

that time that I should one day have been thus honored, I declare that I

should have thought it as ridiculous and improbable as if I had been

told that I should be elected King of England."

During this time, Charles met Sir James Mackintosh, "the best

converser," he says, "I ever listened to. I heard afterwards, with a

glow of pride, that he had said, 'There is something in that young man

that interests me.'... To hear of praise from an eminent person, though

no doubt apt or certain to excite vanity, is, I think, good for a young

man, as it helps to keep him in the right course."

After two years at Edinburgh, Dr. Darwin, seeing that Charles probably

would never become a physician, sent him to Cambridge University, that

he might prepare for the Episcopal ministry.

Of this time he says, "The three years which I spent at Cambridge were

wasted, as far as the academical studies were concerned, as completely

as at Edinburgh and at school. I attempted mathematics, and even went

during the summer of 1828 with a private tutor (a very dull man) to

Barmouth, but I got on very slowly. The work was repugnant to me,

chiefly from my not being able to see any meaning in the early steps in

algebra." He found great delight in Paley's "Evidences of Christianity,"

and his "Moral Philosophy."

At Cambridge, like Humboldt, he formed a rare friendship, which helped

towards his subsequent success. Professor Henslow was an ardent scholar,

a devoted Christian, and a man of most winning manners and good temper.

From his great knowledge of botany, entomology, chemistry, mineralogy,

and geology, he became a most attractive person to young Darwin, whose

especial passion seemed to be the collecting of beetles. Henslow soon

became equally fond of Darwin, and the two took long walks together

daily, Darwin being known as "the man who walks with Henslow."

Darwin said of this model teacher, years afterward, "He had a remarkable

power of making the young feel completely at ease with him; though we

were all awe-struck with the amount of his knowledge. Before I saw him,

I heard one young man sum up his attainments by simply saying that he

knew everything. When I reflect how immediately we felt at ease with a

man older, and in every way immensely our superior, I think it was as

much owing to the transparent sincerity of his character as to his

kindness of heart, and, perhaps, even still more to a highly remarkable

absence in him of all self-consciousness. One perceived at once that he

never thought of his own varied knowledge or clear intellect, but solely

on the subject in hand.

"Another charm which must have struck every one was that his manner to

old and distinguished persons and to the youngest student was exactly

the same; and to all he showed the same winning courtesy. He would

receive with interest the most trifling observation in any branch of

natural history, and, however absurd a blunder one might make, he

pointed it out so clearly and kindly that one left him no way

disheartened, but only determined to be more accurate the next time.

"His lectures on botany were universally popular, and as clear as

daylight. So popular were they that several of the older members of the

University attended successive courses. Once every week he kept open

house in the evening, and all who cared for natural history attended

these parties, which, by thus favoring intercommunication, did the same

good in Cambridge, in a very pleasant manner, as the scientific

societies do in London.... This was no small advantage to some of the

young men, as it stimulated their mental activity and ambition....

"During the years when I associated so much with Professor Henslow, I

never once saw his temper even ruffled. He never took an ill-natured

view of any one's character, though very far from blind to the foibles

of others. It always struck me that his mind could not be even touched

by any paltry feeling of vanity, envy, or jealousy. With all this

equability of temper and remarkable benevolence, there was no insipidity

of character. A man must have been blind not to have perceived that

beneath this placid exterior there was a vigorous and determined will.

When principles came into play, no power on earth could have turned him

one hair's breadth....

"Reflecting over his character with gratitude and reverence, his moral

attributes rise, as they should do in the highest character, in

preeminence over his intellect."

Through this noble friend, Darwin had the opportunity of taking a five

years' voyage in the ship Beagle, as a naturalist. The bark, of two

hundred and thirty-five tons, under command of Captain Fitz-Roy, was

commissioned by government to survey Patagonia, Tierra del Fuego, the

shores of Chili, Peru, and some islands in the Pacific, "and to carry a

chain of chronometrical measurements round the world."

Professor Henslow knew the captain, and recommended his young friend for

the position. Darwin had read Humboldt's travels eagerly, and was

delighted with the prospect of a journey like this.

Dr. Darwin was opposed at first, but finally said, "If you can find any

man of common sense who advises you to go, I will give my consent."

Young Darwin at once visited his uncle, Josiah Wedgwood, at Maer, who

approved of the journey, and soon convinced Dr. Darwin of the wisdom of


The vessel sailed December 27, 1831. Though for a young man of an

extremely affectionate nature the separation from family was painful,

yet it was a glad day for Darwin. He had looked forward eagerly to it,

saying, "My second life will then commence, and it shall be as a

birthday for the rest of my life," and so it proved. He said, years

afterward, "The voyage of the Beagle has been by far the most important

event in my life, and has determined my whole career."

These years were busy, earnest ones, devoted to constant labor. To his

father he wrote from Bahia, or San Salvador, the following spring: "No

person could imagine anything so beautiful as the ancient town of Bahia;

it is fairly embosomed in a luxuriant wood of beautiful trees, and

situated on a steep bank, and overlooks the calm waters of the great Bay

of All Saints. The houses are white and lofty, and, from the windows

being narrow and long, have a very light and elegant appearance.... But

the exquisite, glorious pleasure of walking amongst such flowers and

such trees cannot be comprehended but by those who have experienced

it.... I will not rapturize again, but I give myself great credit in not

being crazy out of pure delight. Give my love to every soul at home....

I think one's affections, like other good things, flourish and increase

in these tropical regions."

Again he writes from Rio de Janeiro: "Here (at Rio-Macoa) I first saw a

tropical forest in all its sublime grandeur--nothing but the reality can

give any idea how wonderful, how magnificent the scene is.... I never

experienced such intense delight. I formerly admired Humboldt, I now

almost adore him; he alone gives any notion of the feelings which are

raised in the mind on first entering the Tropics. I am now collecting

fresh-water and land animals.... I am at present red-hot with spiders;

they are very interesting, and, if I am not mistaken, I have already

taken some new genera." Busy as he was, he was ever thinking of home,

and anxious to receive letters. When they were received, he almost

"cried for pleasure."

He writes to his sister: "If you knew the glowing, unspeakable delight

which I felt at being certain that my father and all of you were well,

only four months ago, you would not grudge the labor lost in keeping up

the regular series of letters."

Later he writes: "It is too delightful to think that I shall see the

leaves fall and hear the robin sing next autumn at Shrewsbury. My

feelings are those of a schoolboy to the smallest point; I doubt whether

ever boy longed for his holidays as much as I do to see you all again."

To his "dear Henslow" he writes: "It is now some months since we have

been at a civilized port; nearly all this time has been spent in the

most southern part of Tierra del Fuego.... The Fuegians are in a more

miserable state of barbarism than I had expected ever to have seen a

human being. In this inclement country they are absolutely naked, and

their temporary houses are like what children make in summer with boughs

of trees."

Captain Fitz-Roy, on a previous voyage, had carried several natives to

England, and now brought them again to their own land. "They had

become," says Darwin, "entirely European in their habits and wishes, so

much so that the younger one had forgotten his own language, and their

countrymen paid but very little attention to them. We built houses for

them, and planted gardens, but by the time we return again on our

passage round the Horn, I think it will be very doubtful how much of

their property will be left unstolen."

At the Cape of Good Hope, Darwin met and dined with Sir John Herschel.

For some time he lived at St. Helena, "within a stone's throw of

Napoleon's tomb." He became so deeply interested in his geological

investigations in South America, that he wrote his sister Susan: "I

literally could hardly sleep at nights for thinking over my day's work.

The scenery was so new, and so majestic; everything at an elevation of

twelve thousand feet bears so different an aspect from that in a lower


To another sister he wrote: "I trust and believe that the time spent in

this voyage, if thrown away for all other respects, will produce its

full worth in Natural History; and it appears to me the doing what

little we can to increase the general stock of knowledge is as

respectable an object of life as one can in any likelihood pursue....

What fine opportunities for geology and for studying the infinite host

of living beings! Is not this a prospect to keep up the most flagging

spirit? If I was to throw it away, I don't think I should ever rest

quiet in my grave."

Darwin says: "As far as I can judge of myself, I worked to the utmost

during the voyage, from the mere pleasure of investigation, and from my

strong desire to add a few facts to the great mass of facts in natural

science. But I was also ambitious to take a fair place among scientific

men." In studying the geology of St. Jago, "It then first dawned on me

that I might perhaps write a book on the geology of the various

countries visited, and this made me thrill with delight. That was a

memorable hour to me, and how distinctly I can call to mind the low

cliff of lava beneath which I rested, with the sun glaring hot, a few

strange desert plants growing near, and with living corals in the tidal

pools at my feet. Later in the voyage, Fitz-Roy asked me to read some of

my journal, and declared it would be worth publishing, so here was a

second book in prospect!"

Darwin, stirred by the right kind of ambition, had found his life-work.

It would not be in the church, as his father had fondly hoped, but the

world would be his audience.

On October 5, 1836, Darwin arrived at Shrewsbury, after five years'

absence. He left home a high-spirited, warm-hearted youth, fond of

athletic sports, and vigorous in body. He came back with a passionate

love for science, "with the habit of energetic industry and of

concentrated attention," but with health impaired, which made the whole

of his after life a battle with suffering. Yet he conquered, and gave to

his generation a wonderful example of the power of mind over body; of

victory over obstacles.

During the voyage he was an almost constant sufferer from sea-sickness.

He wrote home the last year: "It is a lucky thing for me that the voyage

is drawing to its close, for I positively suffer more from sea-sickness

now than three years ago."

"After perhaps an hour's work," says Admiral Stokes, "he would say to

me, 'Old fellow, I must take the horizontal for it,' that being the

best relief position from ship motion. A stretch out on one side of the

table for some time would enable him to resume his labors for a while,

when he had again to lie down. It was distressing to witness this early

sacrifice of Mr. Darwin's health, who ever afterwards seriously felt the

ill effects of the Beagle's voyage."

Admiral Mellersh says: "I think he was the only man I ever knew against

whom I never heard a word said; and as people, when shut up in a ship

for five years, are apt to get cross with each other, that is saying a

good deal." Says another: "He was never known to be out of temper, or to

say one unkind or hasty word of or to any one."

This lovely spirit, which so endeared him to everybody, Darwin kept

through life,--a spirit which sheds a halo around every book he wrote,

and makes him worthy the admiration and honor of every young man. Many

persons have the gift of writing books, but comparatively few persons

have the great gift of self-control.

After a brief visit with his family, Darwin hastened to Cambridge, to

prepare his "Journal of Travels." He had learned on the Beagle that "a

man who dares to waste one hour of time has not discovered the value of

life." After three months of hard work, he went to London, where he

finished the "Journal," and began working on his "Zooelogy of the Voyage

of the Beagle," and his "Geological Observations." He said at this

time: "I have nothing to wish for, excepting stronger health to go on

with the subjects to which I have joyfully determined to devote my


For three years and eight months he worked untiringly. He wrote Henslow:

"I fear the Geology will take me a great deal of time; I was looking

over one set of notes, and the quantity I found I had to read for that

one place was frightful. If I live till I am eighty years old I shall

not cease to marvel at finding myself an author. In the summer before I

started, if any one had told me that I should have been an angel by this

time, I should have thought it an equal impossibility. This marvellous

transformation is all owing to you."

Darwin and Lyell now became very intimate friends. "I am coming into

your way, of only working about two hours at a spell," he writes to

Lyell; "I then go out and do my business in the streets, return and set

to work again, and thus make two separate days out of one." Of Lyell he

said: "One of his chief characteristics was his sympathy with the work

of others.... The science of geology is enormously indebted to

Lyell--more so, as I believe, than to any other man who ever lived."

The "Journal" was published in 1839. January twenty-nine of this year,

Mr. Darwin, now thirty years of age, was married to his cousin, Emma

Wedgwood, daughter of Josiah Wedgwood of Maer, and granddaughter of the

founder of the potteries of Etruria. The extreme happiness of his

married life proved the wisdom of his choice. He said in after years,

"No one can be too kind to my dear wife, who is worth her weight in gold

many times over."

They lived at No. 12 Upper Gower Street, as he wrote a college mate, "a

life of extreme quietness.... We have given up all parties, for they

agree with neither of us; and if one is quiet in London, there is

nothing like its quietness."

In 1842, his "Structure and Distribution of Coral Reefs" was published,

a book which cost him, he says, "twenty months of hard work, as I had to

read every work on the islands of the Pacific, and to consult many

charts." Of this book, Professor Geikie says: "This well known treatise,

the most original of all its author's geological memoirs, has become one

of the classics of geological literature. The origin of those remarkable

rings of coral-rock in mid-ocean has given rise to much speculation, but

no satisfactory solution of the problem has been proposed. After

visiting many of them, and examining also coral reefs that fringe

islands and continents, he offered a theory which, for simplicity and

grandeur, strikes every reader with astonishment.... No more admirable

example of scientific method was ever given to the world, and, even if

he had written nothing else, this treatise alone would have placed

Darwin in the very front of investigators of nature."

Lyell wrote to Darwin concerning this book: "It is all true, but do not

flatter yourself that you will be believed till you are growing bald,

like me, with hard work and vexation at the incredulity of the world."

Darwin's next work, on the "Volcanic Islands Visited during the Voyage

of the Beagle," was published in 1844. This book, he said, "cost me

eighteen months." His third geological book, "Geological Observations on

South America," was published in 1846.

Meantime, tired of smoky London, Darwin purchased a home in Down, a

retired village five or six hundred feet above the sea. The house was a

square brick building, of three stories, vine-covered, in the midst of

eighteen acres. "Its chief merit," Darwin writes to a friend, "is its

extreme rurality. I think I was never in a more perfectly quiet

country." Here, for forty years, Darwin lived the isolated life of a

student, producing the books that made him the most noted scientist of

his century. Of these years, Mr. Darwin said: "Few persons can have

lived a more retired life than we have done. Besides short visits to the

houses of relations, and occasionally to the seaside or elsewhere, we

have gone nowhere. During the first part of our residence we went a

little into society, and received a few friends here; but my health

almost always suffered from the excitement.... I have, therefore, been

compelled for many years to give up all dinner parties.... From the same

cause I have been able to invite here very few scientific acquaintances.

My chief enjoyment and sole employment throughout life has been

scientific work; and the excitement from such work makes me for the time

forget, or drives quite away, my daily discomfort."

At Down, Darwin worked for eight years on two large volumes concerning

cirripedia (barnacles), describing all the known living species; the

extinct species, or fossil cirripedes, were in two smaller volumes. The

first books were published by the Ray Society, between 1851 and 1854;

the others by the Palaeontographical Society. About two years out of the

eight were lost through illness. Sometimes he became half discouraged.

He wrote a friend, "I have been so steadily going downhill, I cannot

help doubting whether I can ever crawl a little uphill again. Unless I

can, enough to work a little, I hope my life may be very short, for to

lie on a sofa all day and do nothing but give trouble to the best and

kindest of wives and good, dear children is dreadful."

Darwin doubted, in after life, "whether the work was worth the

consumption of so much time," but Professor Huxley thinks he "never did

a wiser thing than when he devoted himself to the years of patient toil

which the cirriped-book cost him.... The value of the cirriped monograph

lies not merely in the fact that it is a very admirable piece of work,

and constituted a great addition to positive knowledge, but still more

in the circumstance that it was a piece of critical self-discipline, the

effect of which manifested itself in everything he wrote afterwards,

and saved him from endless errors of detail." Darwin's patient labor is

shown by his working "for the last half-month, daily, in dissecting a

little animal about the size of a pin's head, from the Chonos

archipelago, and I could spend another month, and daily see more

beautiful structure."

During these years from 1846 to 1854, death had twice disturbed the

quiet life at Down. In 1849, Dr. Darwin died, and his son Charles was so

ill that he could not attend the funeral. In 1851, Annie Darwin died, at

the age of ten, after a brief illness. "She was," said Darwin, "my

favorite child; her cordiality, openness, buoyant joyousness, and strong

affections made her most lovable.... When quite a baby, this [strong

affection] showed itself in never being easy without touching her mother

when in bed with her; and quite lately she would, when poorly, fondle

for any length of time one of her mother's arms.... She would at almost

any time spend half an hour in arranging my hair, 'making it,' as she

called it, 'beautiful,' or in smoothing, the poor, dear darling, my

collar or cuffs--in short, in fondling me.... Her whole mind was pure

and transparent. One felt one knew her thoroughly and could trust her. I

always thought that, come what might, we should have had, in our old

age, at least one loving soul which nothing could have changed.

"All her movements were vigorous, active, and usually graceful. When

going round the Sandwalk with me, although I walked fast, yet she often

used to go before, pirouetting in the most elegant way, her dear face

bright all the time with the sweetest smiles. Occasionally she had a

pretty coquettish manner towards me, the memory of which is charming....

"In the last short illness her conduct, in simple truth, was angelic.

She never once complained; never became fretful; was ever considerate of

others, and was thankful in the most gentle, pathetic manner for

everything done for her. When so exhausted that she could hardly speak,

she praised everything that was given her, and said some tea 'was

beautifully good.' When I gave her some water, she said, 'I quite thank

you;' and these, I believe, were the last precious words ever addressed

by her dear lips to me."

Such consideration and politeness she naturally inherited. Francis

Darwin says in his delightful life of his father, "He always spoke to

servants with politeness, using the expression, 'Would you be so good,'

in asking for anything. In business matters he was equally courteous.

His solicitor, who had never met him, said, 'Everything I did was right,

and everything was profusely thanked for.'" Of the drawings made by his

children, he would say, "Michael Angelo is nothing to it!" but he always

looked carefully at the work and kindly pointed out mistakes.

"He received," says his son, "many letters from foolish, unscrupulous

people, and all of these received replies. He used to say that if he

did not answer them, he had it on his conscience afterwards, and, no

doubt, it was in great measure the courtesy with which he answered every

one which produced the universal and widespread sense of his kindness of

nature which was so evident on his death."

In November, 1853, Darwin received the Royal Society's Medal. He was

gratified, finding it "a pleasant little stimulus. When work goes badly,

and one ruminates that all is vanity, it is pleasant to have some

tangible proof that others have thought something of one's labors."

November 24, 1859, when Darwin was fifty, his great work, "Origin of

Species by means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favored

Races in the Struggle for Life," was published. For twenty years he had

been making experiments with plants and animals, and filling his

note-books with facts. To his old classmate, Fox, he writes asking that

the boys in his school gather lizards' eggs, as well as those of snakes.

"My object is," he says, "to see whether such eggs will float on

sea-water, and whether they will keep alive thus floating for a month or

two in my cellar. I am trying experiments on transportation of all

organic beings that I can; and lizards are found on every island, and

therefore I am very anxious to see whether their eggs stand sea-water."

Again he writes, asking Fox for ducklings and dorkings; "The chief point

which I am and have been for years very curious about is to ascertain

whether the young of our domestic breeds differ as much from each

other as do their parents, and I have no faith in anything short of

actual measurement and the Rule of Three.... I have got my fan-tails and

pouters in a grand cage and pigeon-house, and they are a decided

amusement to me, and delight to H."

Of this book, Darwin himself says: "I worked on true Baconian

principles, and without any theory--collected facts on a wholesale

scale, more especially with respect to domesticated productions, by

printed inquiries, by conversation with skilful breeders and gardeners,

and by extensive reading. When I see the list of books of all kinds

which I read and abstracted, including whole series of Journals and

Transactions, I am surprised at my industry. I soon perceived that

selection was the keystone of man's success in making useful races of

animals and plants....

"In October, 1838, that is, fifteen months after I had begun my

systematic inquiry, I happened to read 'Malthus on Population,' and,

being well prepared to appreciate the struggle for existence which

everywhere goes on, from long continued observation of the habits of

animals and plants, it at once struck me that under these circumstances

favorable variations would tend to be preserved, and unfavorable ones to

be destroyed. The result of this would be the formation of new

species.... But at that time I overlooked one problem of great

importance.... This problem is the tendency in organic beings descended

from the same stock to diverge in character as they become modified.

That they have diverged greatly is obvious from the manner in which

species of all kinds can be classed under genera, genera under families,

families under sub-orders, and so forth.... The solution, as I believe,

is that the modified offspring of all dominant and increasing forms tend

to become adapted to many and highly diversified places in the economy

of nature."

The book was written slowly, each chapter requiring at least three

months. When the "Origin of Species"--which had reached its thirty-third

thousand in 1888--was published, it created the most profound sensation

throughout the thinking world. Heretofore, most men of science had

believed that each species had been separately created by the

Almighty,--that species were immutable, unchanging.

Mr. Darwin, by twenty years of study, proved to his own mind, and now to

most of the world, that there has been a gradual evolution, through

unnumbered ages, of one form of animal life from another. He said,

"Probably all the organic beings which have ever lived on the earth have

descended from some one primordial form, into which life was first


The theory of evolution was not original with Darwin. Lamarck, in 1801,

published his "Organization of Living Bodies," in which he stated his

belief "that nature, in all the long ages during which the world has

existed, may have produced the different kinds of plants and animals by

gradually enlarging one part and diminishing another to suit the wants

of each." Geoffrey Saint-Hilaire, Goethe, Dr. Erasmus Darwin, the

grandfather of Charles, all believed that species are descended from

other species, and in various ways improved.

Some of the reasons for the belief in evolution are so simply and

clearly stated by Arabella B. Buckley, in her "Short History of Natural

Science," that I quote her words:--

"All the Animals of each class are formed on the same plan....

"Why should the animals of one class (such as the vertebrate or

back-boned class) be formed all on one plan, even to the most minute

bones; so that the wing of a bat, the front leg of a horse, the hand of

a man, and the flapper of a porpoise, are all made of the same bones,

which have either grown together, or lengthened and spread apart,

according to the purpose they serve? And, more curious still, why should

some animals have parts which are of no use to them, but only seem to be

there because other animals of the same class also have them? Thus the

whale has teeth like the other mammalia, but they never pierce through

the gum; and the boa-constrictor has the beginnings of hind legs, hidden

under its skin, though they never grow out. Here, again, it seems

extraordinary, if a boa-constrictor and a whale were created

separately, that they should be made with organs which are quite

useless; while, on the other hand, if they were descended from the same

ancestor, as other reptiles and mammalia who have teeth and hind legs,

they might be supposed to have inherited these organs....

"Embryos of animals alike in Structure.

"Another still more remarkable fact was that pointed out by Von Baer,

that the higher animals, such as quadrupeds, before they are perfectly

formed, cannot be distinguished from the embryos of other and lower

animals, such as fish and reptiles. If animals were created separately,

why should a dog begin like a fish, a lizard, and a bird, and have at

first parts which it loses as it grows into its own peculiar form?

"Living animals of a country agree with the fossil ones....

"We know that certain animals are only found in particular countries;

kangaroos and pouched animals, for example, in Australia, and sloths and

armadillos in South America. Now, it is remarkable that all the fossil

quadrupeds in Australia are also pouched animals, though they are of

different kinds and larger in size than those now living; and in the

same way different species of sloth and armadillos are found fossil in

South America; while in the rocks of Europe fossil mammalia are found,

only slightly different from those which are living there now." It seems

natural to conclude that the living have descended from the fossils.

The study of the rocks has produced other "missing links" in the

succession of animal life. Professor Huxley, in some lectures given in

New York in 1876, described the Hesperornis, found in the western

rocks,--a huge bird, five or six feet in length, with teeth like a

reptile. In England a fossil reptile has been found, the Archaeopteryx,

having a reptile-like tail, with a fringe of feathers on each side, and

teeth, "occupying a midway place between a bird and a reptile." Flying

reptiles have been found, and reptiles which walked on their hind legs.

Those who have visited Yale and Amherst Colleges must have seen the huge

bird-tracks or reptile foot-prints taken from the rocks in the

Connecticut valley.

Professor Huxley showed the probable descent of the horse with its

hoofed foot from the extinct three-toed Hipparion of Europe, and that

from the four-toed Orohippus of the Eocene formation. He declared it

probable that a five-toed horse would be found, and Professor Marsh, in

the West, has found the Eohippus, corresponding very nearly to Professor

Huxley's description.

The question among naturalists was, "How can plants and animals have

become thus changed?" Darwin showed how it was possible to effect most

of these changes by "natural selection," or the choosing of the best to

survive in the struggle for existence. As man by grafting secures the

finest fruit, and by care in animal life the swiftest horses for speed

as well as the strongest for labor, so nature selects her best for the

higher development of the race.

Darwin says, "There is no exception to the rule that every organic being

naturally increases at so high a rate that, if not destroyed, the earth

would soon be covered by the progeny of a single pair. Even

slow-breeding man has doubled in twenty-five years, and, at this rate,

in less than a thousand years there would literally not be standing-room

for his progeny.... The elephant is reckoned the slowest breeder of all

known animals; it will be safest to assume that it begins breeding when

thirty years old, and goes on breeding till ninety years old, bringing

forth six young in the interval, and surviving till one hundred years

old; if this be so, after a period of from 740 to 750 years, there would

be nearly nineteen million elephants alive, descended from the first


In various ways the weakest are destroyed. Darwin, on a piece of ground

three feet long and two wide, says, "I marked all the seedlings of our

native weeds as they came up, and, out of 357, no less than 295 were

destroyed, chiefly by slugs and insects."

He gives this interesting instance of the struggle for existence. "I

find from experiments that humble-bees are almost indispensable to the

fertilization of the heart's-ease, for other bees do not visit this

flower.... Humble-bees alone visit red clover, as other bees cannot

reach the nectar.... Hence we may infer as highly probable that, if the

whole genus of humble-bees became extinct or very rare in England, the

heart's-ease and red clover would become very rare, or wholly disappear.

The number of humble-bees in any district depends in a great measure

upon the number of field-mice, which destroy their combs and nests; the

number of mice is largely dependent, as every one knows, on the number

of cats." Hence, as Mr. Darwin shows, the frequency of certain flowers

in a district may depend upon the number of cats!

Darwin showed, by most interesting experiments with pigeons, that the

various breeds come from the wild rock-pigeon; that dogs are descended,

probably, from the wolf; that different varieties can be produced and

perpetuated under changing conditions of life; that species are only

well marked and permanent varieties. He showed how organs can be changed

by use or disuse; such as, the erect ears of wild animals become

drooping under domestication; or moles have only rudimentary eyes,

covered with skin or fur, because not needed for sight.

In the "Origin of Species," the theory of evolution received proof which

was so nearly incontrovertible that the subject was brought prominently

before the world as never before. Mr. Alfred Russell Wallace, an able

scientist, came to the same conclusion as Darwin in regard to the power

of "Natural Selection," and published, at the same time as the

"Origin," an essay "On the Tendency of Varieties to depart indefinitely

from the Original Type."

At once Darwin was attacked from every quarter. Probably not since

Galileo showed that the earth moves round the sun has a man been so

censured and persecuted for his opinions as was Darwin. He was declared

atheistic, unsettling the Christian belief, and opposed to the teachings

of the Bible. Professor Asa Gray of Cambridge, Mass., a devoted

Christian and able scientist, defended and explained Darwin's views, now

published in "Darwiniana," claiming that the doctrine of evolution is in

no wise opposed to the power and goodness of the Almighty, and quotes

Charles Kingsley's words: "We know of old that God was so wise that he

could make all things; but behold, he is so much wiser than even that,

that he can make all things make themselves." Kingsley wrote Darwin: "I

have gradually learnt to see that it is just as noble a conception of

Deity to believe that he created primal forms capable of

self-development into all forms needful pro tempore and pro loco, as

to believe that he required a fresh act of intervention to supply the

lacunas which he himself had made. I question whether the former be

not the loftier thought." Gray believed that "to do any work by an

instrument must require, and therefore presuppose, the exertion rather

of more than of less power than to do it directly." Darwin said, "There

is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been

originally breathed by the Creator into a few forms or into one; and

that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law

of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms, most beautiful and

most wonderful, have been and are being evolved." Darwin always felt

grateful to Asa Gray for his defence. He wrote him: "I declare that you

know my book as well as I do myself; and bring to the question new lines

of illustration and argument, in a manner which excites my astonishment

and almost my envy!... I said, in a former letter, that you were a

lawyer, but I made a gross mistake; I am sure that you are a poet. No, I

will tell you what you are, a hybrid, a complex cross of lawyer, poet,

naturalist, and theologian!"

Darwin wisely made no reply to his critics. He said, years later: "My

views have often been grossly misrepresented, bitterly opposed and

ridiculed, but this has been generally done, as I believe, in good

faith. On the whole, I do not doubt that my works have been over and

over again greatly overpraised. I rejoice that I have avoided

controversies, and this I owe to Lyell, who, many years ago, in

reference to my geological works, strongly advised me never to get

entangled in a controversy, as it rarely did any good, and caused a

miserable loss of time and temper.

"Whenever I have found out that I have blundered, or that my work has

been imperfect, and when I have been contemptuously criticised, and

even when I have been overpraised, so that I have felt mortified, it has

been my greatest comfort to say hundreds of times to myself, 'that I

have worked as hard and as well as I could, and no man can do more than


The "Origin" has been translated into French, German, Italian, Dutch,

Russian, Swedish, and many other languages. Huxley says of it, "Even a

cursory glance at the history of the biological sciences during the last

quarter of a century is sufficient to justify the assertion that the

most potent instrument for the extension of the realm of natural

knowledge which has come into men's hands since the publication of

Newton's 'Principia' is Darwin's 'Origin of Species.'"

The year after the "Origin" was published, Darwin began arranging his

notes for his two large volumes, "Variation of Animals and Plants under

Domestication," which, however, were not published till 1868. On these

two books he spent over four years. They are a wonderful collection of

facts, gathered from books and from his own marvellous experiments and

observations, confirming and illustrating the law of "Natural Selection"

given in the "Origin."

Darwin had already received the Copley medal of the Royal Society, the

greatest honor a scientific man can receive in England, and the Prussian

Order "Pour le Merite," founded by Frederick II. The order consists of

thirty German members and a few distinguished foreigners. In 1862 the

"Fertilization of Orchids" was published, which, required ten months of

labor. In this work Darwin took the utmost delight. He wrote to a friend

who had sent him some of these flowers: "It is impossible to thank you

enough. I was almost mad at the wealth of Orchids.... I never was more

interested in any subject in my life than in this of Orchids." The

peculiarities of the flowers therein described, as Darwin says,

"transcend in an incomparable manner the contrivances and adaptations

which the most fertile imagination of man could invent."

In the "Origin" he describes an orchid which "has part of its labellum

or lower lip hollowed out into a great bucket, into which drops of

almost pure water continually fall from two secreting horns which stand

above it; and when the bucket is half full the water overflows by a

spout on one side. The basal part of the labellum stands over the

bucket, and is itself hollowed out into a sort of chamber with two

lateral entrances; within this chamber there are curious fleshy ridges.

The most ingenious man, if he had not witnessed what takes place, could

never have imagined what purpose all these parts serve. But Dr. Crueger

saw crowds of large humble-bees visiting the gigantic flowers of this

orchid, not in order to suck nectar, but to gnaw off the ridges within

the chamber above the bucket; in doing this they frequently pushed each

other into the bucket, and, their wings being thus wetted, they could

not fly away, but were compelled to crawl out through the passage formed

by the spout or overflow.... The passage is narrow, and is roofed over

by the column, so that a bee, in forcing its way out, first rubs its

back against the viscid stigma and then against the viscid glands of the

pollen-masses. The pollen-masses are thus glued to the back of the bee

which first happens to crawl out through the passage of a lately

expanded flower, and are thus carried away....

"When the bee, thus provided, flies to another flower, or to the same

flower a second time, and is pushed by its comrades into the bucket and

then crawls out by the passage, the pollen-mass necessarily comes first

into contact with the viscid stigma, and adheres to it, and the flower

is fertilized. Now at last we see the full use of every part of the

flower; of the water-secreting horns, of the bucket half full of water,

which prevents the bees from flying away, and forces them to crawl out

through the spout, and rub against the properly placed viscid

pollen-masses and the viscid stigma."

Darwin said: "The Botanists praise my Orchid-book to the skies.... There

is a superb, but, I fear, exaggerated, review in the 'London Review.'

But I have not been a fool, as I thought I was, to publish; for Asa

Gray, about the most competent judge in the world, thinks almost as

highly of the book as does the 'London Review.'"

Darwin wrote several other books on plants. "The Movements and Habits of

Climbing Plants" was published in 1875; "Insectivorous Plants," in

1875; "Effects of Cross and Self-Fertilization," in 1876; "The different

Forms of Flowers on Plants of the Same Species," in 1877; "The Power of

Movement in Plants," in 1880.

When writing his "Different Forms of Flowers," he said, "I am all on

fire at the work;" and of "Insectivorous Plants," "I have been working

like a madman at Drosera. Here is a fact for you which is certain as you

stand where you are, though you won't believe it, that a bit of hair,

1/78000 of one grain in weight, placed on gland, will cause one of the

gland-bearing hairs of Drosera to curve inwards, and will alter the

condition of the content of every cell in the foot-stalk of the gland."

But he was growing tired with his constant and multifarious labors. He

wrote to Hooker: "You ask about my book, and all that I can say is that

I am ready to commit suicide; I thought it was decently written, but

find so much wants rewriting that it will not be ready to go to printers

for two months, and will then make a confoundedly big book. Murray will

say that it is no use publishing in the middle of summer, so I do not

know what will be the upshot; but I begin to think that every one who

publishes a book is a fool."

In 1871 the "Descent of Man" was published. He worked on this book three

years, and he wrote to his friend, Sir J. D. Hooker, that it has "half

killed" him. For the first edition Darwin received over seven thousand

dollars. It had an immense circulation in England and America, and

created a furor in Germany.

Darwin believed "that man is descended from a hairy quadruped, furnished

with a tail and pointed ears, probably arboreal in its habits, and an

inhabitant of the Old World. This creature, if its whole structure had

been examined by a naturalist, would have been classed among the

quadrumana, as surely as would the common and still more ancient

progenitor of the Old and New World monkeys.

"The quadrumana and all the higher mammals are probably derived from an

ancient marsupial animal, and this, through a long line of diversified

forms, either from some reptile-like or some amphibian-like creature,

and this again from some fishlike animal. In the dim obscurity of the

past, we can see that the early progenitor of all the vertebrata must

have been an aquatic animal, provided with branchiae, with the two sexes

united in the same individual, and with the most important organs of the

body (such as the brain and heart) imperfectly developed. This animal

seems to have been more like the larvae of our existing marine Ascidians

than any known form."

Most naturalists believe, with Darwin, that man has developed from some

lower form, but many urge that at some stage of development he received

the gift of speech, and mental and moral powers, from an omnipotent


Darwin received much abuse and much ridicule for his views. Mr. James D.

Hague tells in "Harper's Magazine" of a visit paid to the great

scientist, when a picture in the "Hornet" was shown; the body of a

gorilla, with the head of Darwin. The latter laughed and said, "The head

is cleverly done, but the gorilla is bad; too much chest; it couldn't be

like that."

The "Descent of Man" shows the widest research, and is a storehouse of

most interesting facts. "Sexual Selection" shows some of the most

remarkable provisions of nature, and is as interesting as any novel.

This book, like the "Origin," has been translated into various


In 1872 "The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals" was

published. Over five thousand copies were sold on the day of

publication. It was begun at the birth of his first child, thirty-three

years before. He says, "I at once commenced to make notes on the first

dawn of the various expressions which he exhibited, for I felt

convinced, even at this early period, that the most complex and fine

shades of expression must all have had a gradual and natural origin." He

wrote to a college friend regarding this baby: "He is so charming that I

cannot pretend to any modesty. I defy anybody to flatter us on our baby,

for I defy any one to say anything in its praise of which we are not

fully conscious.... I had not the smallest conception there was so much

in a five-mouth baby. You will perceive by this that I have a fine

degree of paternal fervor."

In 1881, "The Formation of Vegetable Mould, through the Action of Worms,

with Observations on their Habits," was published. "Fragments of burnt

marl, cinders, etc., which had been thickly strewed over the surface of

several meadows were found, after a few years, lying at a depth of some

inches beneath the turf, but still forming a layer." Ascertaining that

this was the work of worms, Darwin made a study of their structure,

habits, and work, in his garden, his fields, and in pots of earth kept

in his study. The intelligence of worms, the construction of their

burrows, and the amount of labor they can perform, are described in a

most entertaining manner. Over fifty thousand worms are found in a

single acre of land, or about three hundred and fifty-six pounds. "In

many parts of England a weight of more than ten tons of dry earth

annually passes through their bodies, and is brought to the surface, on

each acre of land.... Worms prepare the ground in an excellent manner

for the growth of fibrous-rooted plants and for seedlings of all kinds.

They periodically expose the mould to the air, and sift it so that no

stones larger than the particles which they can swallow are left in it.

They mingle the whole intimately together, like a gardener who prepares

fine soil for his choicest plants.... The plough is one of the most

ancient and most valuable of man's inventions; but long before he

existed the land was in fact regularly ploughed, and still continues to

be thus ploughed, by earthworms. It may be doubted whether there are

many other animals which have played so important a part in the history

of the world as have these lowly organized creatures."

In three years eighty-five hundred copies of the "Earthworms" were sold.

Mr. Darwin was now seventy-two years old. Already many honors had come

to him, after the severe and bitter censure. In 1877, he received the

degree of LL.D. from Cambridge University. In 1878, he was elected a

corresponding member of the French Institute, and of the Berlin Academy

of Sciences. In 1879, he received the Baly Medal of the Royal College of

Physicians. In 1879, from the Royal Academy of Turin, the Bressa Prize

of twelve thousand francs. He valued highly two photographic albums sent

from Germany and Holland; one containing the pictures of one hundred and

fifty-four noted scientific men; the other, of two hundred and seventeen

lovers of natural science in the Netherlands. He wrote in thanks: "I am

well aware that my books could never have been written, and would not

have made any impression on the public mind, had not an immense amount

of material been collected by a long series of admirable observers; and

it is to them that honor is chiefly due. I suppose that every worker at

science occasionally feels depressed, and doubts whether what he has

published has been worth the labor which it has cost him, but for the

few remaining years of my life, whenever I want cheering, I will look at

the portraits of my distinguished co-workers in the field of science,

and remember their generous sympathy."

He was made a member of more than seventy of the learned societies of

the world; in America, Austria, India, Belgium, Denmark, France,

Germany, Holland, Italy, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland,

and elsewhere.

Darwin's work was now almost over. His dear friend Lyell had gone before

him, of whom he said, "I never forget that almost everything which I

have done in science I owe to the study of his great works." His brother

Erasmus, to whom he was tenderly attached, died in 1881. In the spring

of 1882 he was unable to work continuously as usual, and suffered from

pain about the heart. On the night of April 18, he had a severe attack

and fainted. When he was restored to consciousness, he said, "I am not

the least afraid to die." He died the next day, April 19.

Darwin died as he had lived, with a heart overflowing with sympathy and

tenderness. He said, "I feel no remorse from having committed any great

sin, but have often and often regretted that I have not done more direct

good to my fellow-creatures."

In his home life he was singularly blest. His son says, "No one except

my mother knows the full amount of suffering he endured, or the full

amount of his wonderful patience. For all the latter years of his life

she never left him for a night; and her days were so planned that all

his resting hours might be shared with her. She shielded him from every

avoidable annoyance, and omitted nothing that might save him trouble, or

prevent him becoming overtired, or that might alleviate the many

discomforts of his ill-health. I hesitate to speak thus freely of a

thing so sacred as the life-long devotion which prompted all this

constant and tender care. But it is ... a principal feature of his life

that for nearly forty years he never knew one day of the health of

ordinary men, and that thus his life was one long struggle against the

weariness and strain of sickness." And yet he accomplished all his

wonderful work!

"In his relationship towards my mother, his tender and sympathetic

nature was shown in its most beautiful aspect. In her presence he found

his happiness, and through her his life--which might have been

overshadowed by gloom--became one of content and quiet gladness."

He was the idol of his children, who used "to bribe him with sixpence to

come and play in working hours." "We all knew the sacredness of working

time," says Mr. Darwin's daughter, "but that any one should resist

sixpence seemed an impossibility.... Another mark of his unbounded

patience was the way in which we were suffered to make raids into the

study when we had an absolute need of sticking-plaster, string, pins,

scissors, stamps, foot-rule, or hammer. These and other such

necessaries were always to be found in the study, and it was the only

place where this was a certainty. We used to feel it wrong to go in

during work-time; still, when the necessity was great we did so. I

remember his patient look when he said once, 'Don't you think you could

not come in again; I have been interrupted very often?'... He cared for

all our pursuits and interests, and lived our lives with us in a way

that very few fathers do."

His son says: "The way he brought us up is shown by a little story about

my brother Leonard, which my father was fond of telling. He came into

the drawing-room, and found Leonard dancing about on the sofa, which was

forbidden, for the sake of the springs, and said, 'Oh, Lenny, Lenny,

that's against all rules!' and received for answer, 'Then, I think you'd

better go out of the room.' I do not believe he ever spoke an angry word

to any of his children in his life; but I am certain that it never

entered our heads to disobey him.... How often, when a man, I have

wished, when my father was behind my chair, that he would pass his hand

over my hair, as he used to do when I was a boy. He allowed his grown-up

children to laugh with and at him, and was, generally speaking, on terms

of perfect equality with us."

He was very fond of flowers, and also of dogs. When he had been absent

from home, on his return his white fox-terrier, Polly, "would get wild

with excitement, panting, squeaking, rushing round the room, and

jumping on and off the chairs; and he used to stoop down, pressing her

face to his, letting her lick him, and speaking to her with a peculiarly

tender, caressing voice."

He was very tender-hearted. A friend who often visited at Down told me

that Mrs. Darwin one day urged her husband to punish the little dog for

some wrong-doing. He took the animal tenderly in his arms and carried

her out-of-doors, patting her gently on the head. "Why, Charles,"

remonstrated the wife, "she did not feel it." He replied, "I could do no


"The remembrance of screams or other sounds heard in Brazil," says

Francis Darwin, "when he was powerless to interfere with what he

believed to be the torture of a slave, haunted him for years, especially

at night. In smaller matters, when he could interfere, he did so

vigorously. He returned one day from his walk pale and faint from having

seen a horse ill-used, and from the agitation of violently remonstrating

with the man. On another occasion he saw a horse-breaker teaching his

son to ride. The little boy was frightened, and the man was rough. My

father stopped, and, jumping out of the carri